How to Spot Online Dating Scams

Physical safety has always been a big concern when it comes to online dating. More and more, however, another danger has seeped into this method of finding romance. Now, you have to worry about fiscal safety as well.

Online dating has become an increasingly popular way to find love. According to data presented by Statista, 44.2 million Americans use online dating sites. Meanwhile, Pew Research Center reports that nearly half of 18- to 29-year-olds (48%) have used online dating.

Obviously, you need to be careful online. Phishing, viruses, hacks, data theft – the internet has a lot of potential grifts. You can add dating scams to this list, a trend that has been intensifying in recent years. (In fact, some evidence suggests that 1 in 7 dating profiles might be fake.)

But don’t delete your account just yet. You can still swipe right safely. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Remember the Phrase “Too Good to Be True”

Anyone can post a few hot pictures in a profile. That 22-year-old fitness instructor you’re talking to could be a middle-aged unemployed con artist. 

Ask for a Specific Picture

Ask for more proof to confirm a profile. Have your potential date send you a tailor-ordered selfie. Tell them to hold up the “okay” sign or raise a pinky. Just something that you know it’s really them.

Beware of Any Request for Money

A new online match should be about flirtation and getting to know each other. Money shouldn’t come up at all, but scammers will eventually pivot to cash. That’s their business plan. Consider such a move an instant red flag.

Watch Out for Sob Stories

Scammers will try to rope you in with sad stories. You’ll hear about starving kids, sick pets, and paraplegic relatives. Don’t buy it. You’re not on Bumble to find a charity case. Give your sympathy if you want, but keep your money.

Don’t Stay a Victim

If you do fall for an online dating scam, don’t wallow in victimhood. Fight back. In some circumstances, you might be able to get your money back. But even if you can’t, you might save someone else from facing the same heartache.

Here are some steps you can take:

  • Confront the scammer: Tell the scammer to return your money, or you’ll go to the police. It might be a bluff on your part, but they don’t know that. Just the prospect of a hassle might convince them it’s easier to give your cash back.
  • Report their account: Flag their online dating account. This will at least disrupt their operations.
  • Call the police: Online dating scams are a crime. You did nothing wrong. Report them to the proper authorities so that officers can begin an investigation.


Online dating comes with enough headaches. You have to consider physical safety, of course. Along with this comes the danger of rejection and the possibility of future heartache. 

And now one more risk to add to the list: con artists chasing your money. Don’t put your cash at risk at the same time as your heart. Take precautions to protect yourself from the rising threat of online dating scams.

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